>But in 2012, for reasons he still doesn't understand, sales all but vanished.
I would suspect Spotify which arrived in late 2011. I think the early adoptors of Spotify were the people who consumed the most music. I know I started taking less chances of my music purchases afterward (whereas before it was not uncommon to buy an album just to hear what it sounded like.)
The comment I had planned to make when I realized this discussion had gotten off the rails was that I also think record labels are still an important part of the equation. In fact, I would argue that being on a label (that has money for marketing) is more important now that it was in the pre-Internet days (as you now need to raise your head a little higher.) In turn, I wasn't suggesting that, by securing a booking agent, then you no longer needed a label...but more the opposite, you're more likely to get interest from an agent first, which in turn could help you secure a label deal.
So maybe, in regards to the article, shopping your album to labels isn't always the best approach but maybe, trying to get on the radar screen of booking agents. I can only speak for 506 but I'm always amazed when I have shows with agencies like Windish, Billions and Ground Control (who are the Merge/Matador/Sub-Pop of booking agencies) and have difficulty finding anyone to open those shows (when I also know you're more likely to get 'in' with one of these via a band's recommendation.) Yes, as was mentioned, sometimes it's who you know...but in honesty, it's not that hard to get to know people when they are actually coming to your town.
With all that said, as someone else mentioned, there is no 'right way' to be successful in music - if it were, everyone would be doing it...glenn/506
Note to Indy: This section would be way more interesting if the comments were not anonymous. When anyone can say anything they want, they normally water down the discussion.
There were some interesting comments, but they're now buried so far I'm not going to bother to comment on them (in fear of changing this thread back to the actual article!?)
Believe me, Grayson and I don't see eye to eye on everything, but I don't hide my thoughts behind anonymous nicknames (nor did he when he wrote this article.)
As a former music industry colleague so eloquently stated to me at SXSW this year, "Booking Agents are the new A&R people" - suggesting that agents are really the ones out there discovering new acts. With that in mind, I can think of two local acts, The Love Language and Lost in the Trees, who both hooked up with bigger booking agents (in turn, bigger tours and better local shows) before they landed the bigger labels they are currently on.
So, to a certain degree, it still surprises me when bands are upset that they aren't on a bigger label when, in all honesty, I can't even tell you the name of the label of the last few acts who packed Local 506. I'm not saying that packing 506 equals success, but you definitely don't need to be on bigger indie label to make that happen anymore but normally when you reach that level of success, there are likely bigger labels that are now more interested in the act.
First and foremost, let me just say that I do think an Indy writer has the right to be critical if they are reviewing material, whether it be an album or live show from any act, local or touring. And I do think any artist who complains about what a reviewer says should realize that is what youre asking for when you send in your material a critique. With that said, I would like to think that the local paper of any magnitude would choose to not review a local album instead of railing against it.
But, as you can imagine, as a venue owner I do have issues with the Indys Eh Whatever section. And my issues stem from the difference of Preview and Review - I personally think a preview should highlight an upcoming event that you think is worthy of attendance, and if not, then dont write about. If you want to be critical of an acts live performance or album, then write a review of it - dont use your disdain for either as a reason to tell others to NOT see the band. And it seems the Indys Eh Whatever criteria is confusing the two. For example, in the recent issue, both Bishop Allen and Clem Snide are previewed, yet one suggests that you attend while the other suggest you stay away. If you read these previews, they basically say the same thing both bands have made good albums in the past, but the newest isnt necessarily as good:
>Brooklyn's Bishop Allen pushes at the border of sugar, jangle and twee pop in a way that was palatable until this year's Grrr..., a record of solipsistic whining so musically safe you'd think it comes in a condom wrapper
>Though Chapel Hill's only the second stop on the Hungry Bird tour, here's hoping Barzelay & Co. spend time mining the back catalog's roots-pop gems. Otherwise, it could be a long night.
In fact, the Clem Snide preview sounds worse but at least they are suggesting that you attend the show because the band does have a past of stronger material. Not to mention, Bishop Allen, who were the Eh Whatever act this week played in the area just four months ago and Indy readers were encouraged to go (Yes, Please!) by the same writer:
>The band's cheekiness and subjectssecond chances, rich uncles, gifted flowers, copious coffee, late-night flights, glamorous friends, travel reflectionsoccasionally seem stiff, but its crafty song structures and exuberant but reserved performances are instantly magnetic.
I mean, all this band did in the last few months is release an album (and album that Im sure had already been recorded by that last show) did their live set completely change in this time? Or they somehow no longer worth seeing, whereas a few months ago they were considered one of the highlights of a given week!?!?
And that is what I find most disappointing that, in this day and age, the Indy writers (and editor!) cant seem to distinguish between a bands performances and recorded material. I went to see Morrissey on Wednesday and most people I talked to at the show had not heard his new album yet everyone seemed to enjoy the show. Personally, Im excited to hear U2 is coming, yet I have not heard their new album does any bands live show fluctuate that much based on the quality of the most recent album? If thats the case, how did the Rolling Stones pack Wallace Wade a few years ago?!?!
As far as advertising, Local 506 has severely cut back on how much we spend with The Independent...and I have yet to notice a drop off in attendance. There was a time when we advertised weekly with the Indy and I started being more selective once the Eh Whatever section started as I do feel like our business is being singled out over smaller venues for taking chances on up-and-coming touring acts. I dont think its fair to the acts, who have limited time and resources, yet choose to come to Chapel Hill over other cities, and I dont think its fair to any music venue who is also operating on a shoe-string budget and who is really just making guesses as to what people in this area might want to see. And I also dont think its an even playing field is Bishop Allen really the worst show in town or is it just the show that the writer had higher expectations for because of previous awareness of the act? Would the same be written if those expectations were not in place? Are the writers checking out every single show on a given night to make sure theyve picked the worst....or as I assume, just looking over the acts coming to the area and picking on the ones they arent fans of out of the pool of acts that are familiar with.
In my opinion, thats not being critical, its being lazy. As you can see here, its very easy to write negatively about something you are not a fan of...Glenn / Local 506
>>>"I see three shitty bands a night and have seen three shitty bands a night for 10 years of my life doing sound at clubs," says Walsh, who manages Local 506 in Chapel Hill.
Rob is not the manager of Local 506, nor does his views reflect those of the current management of Local 506 (who work really hard to book the best shows possible!)
Owner, Local 506
>So alot of times I can't make it out bc of sheer music fatigue....
Right, that is another problem. The supply of music in this area greatly exceeds the demand to see it. There are so many clubs, so many bands, yet a fairly fixed number of people willing to venture out to see them. You can pretty much see something good in this area every single night, so you have to call your shots.
>Glenn's done a fabulous job with start times in the last few years.
Thanks. Again, this is almost always met with resistance from the bands performing because they are of the ideology that the people coming out, are coming anyway so why not wait for them to show up. However, I think we can increase that pool of potential patrons if the patrons themselves get what is advertised (bands playing at stated time.) Afterall, it works for movie theatres they dont wait for the theatre to fill-up before starting the film: If no one is there, well, its likely that film wont be playing a week later.
>Look...I am trying to bring music to apex...and countless people have told me how it sucks to be out so late and in a smokey place yaddda yadda freakin yadda...so here I am in a nice comfortable coffee shop...trying to promote some good local music, and we've had some cool stuff come through, and nobody ever shows up...it blows and I am starting to think it's not worth my time
Yes, promoting shows is a tough, and sometimes thankless job. The catch here is people say they will come out, but ultimately its not the set-times, but the music that attracts them. My suggestion would be to go out of your way to get some bigger name local acts to play. If still low turn-oust, then youre probably in a no-win situation (but better to find out now.)
> Come to think of it, maybe this newspaper is partly to blame for slack interest in live music. The last "Live Review" was Joanne Newsom from November 2006.
Personally, Id rather see more show previews: Reasons why you should GO to a certain show, than what you MISSED by not going. I can always see an impact in attendance when the Indy does an article about one of our shows. But youre right, drawing more attention to the name acts whove played might get more people to actually read the music section, and thus a greater chance to turn them on to upcoming shows.
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